We are in “the season.” The Giving Season. It’s the time of year that all the churches and non-profits like ours anxiously await. We know that a lot of our funding for the upcoming year will come during this time. We trust God and hope that those year-end gifts will come in to help finish strong and launch us well into the coming year.
I have to confess, I have a love/hate relationship with this season.
On one hand I love it because I’m able to reflect on the previous year – which creates great opportunity to engage others on what we do as a ministry. I’m able to share stories of God’s faithfulness and his activity through our ministry. It’s a real joy for me to be able to communicate these stories to others.
On the other hand, it’s flat out difficult asking for donations! When it comes to asking people to consider a donation, I am trusting God and hoping the person across from me considers Men Sharpening Men a worthy investment.
Yes, I believe strongly on what our mission is and yes, I trust God to provide. He has now for 13 years of ministry. This is His ministry not ours! But I wouldn’t be honest with you if I didn’t admit that it’s a struggle sometimes.
So, for me, this is a great season to trust, build my faith, do my due diligence, and watch God work in several areas of my life. As my friend Soup Campbell says, “You feel me?”
I know I’m not alone, nearly half of Americans view finances as the most difficult topic to discuss. That’s no reason to avoid the topic, though. We all deal with it, so we might as well talk about it!
I want to walk you through a few things to consider during this year-end-giving season.
Good Questions to Consider
- What is my responsibility in financially giving to churches, ministries, and other worthy organizations?
- Why should I give?
- Do I have to give all of my “tithe” to the church I go to?
- Can I split my giving up between the church and different ministries or mission organizations?
These are all great questions that need to be considered. My encouragement is that you take some time to study and search out for yourself God’s desire for the what, who, and how you should give.
Don’t take just my word or the word of your pastor or other spiritual leaders. Make sure you have good giving habits; don’t be a lazy giver.
Remember it’s not your money in the first place. God has given you money for you to steward well for Him and to be a blessing to others for His purposes.
10% Tithe – A Policy or Biblical Principle?
The message you hear most often is likely focused on giving your first tenth, a tithe of 10%, to the local church and then any giving beyond that – to other nonprofits and organizations – would be considered an additional offering.
I agree, your local church is certainly a place you should give to, but is it always supposed to be the first place?
Many people take a pretty hard line stand on “store house giving” used in the Old Testament, Malachi 3:8-10, but they use that out of context. In fact, if you really want to apply Old Testament giving it’s actually much more than 10%. Try 23% to 50% of your income!
Yet the first 10% to the local church is what most pastors say is the biblical method of giving. But it is not – it’s more of a church policy not a biblical principle.
“The New Testament puts the life of the Christian on a new footing that is different from the Old Testament law.”– John Piper
“Now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve the new way of the Spirit and not the old way of the written code.”– Romans 7:6
Paul gives instructions about how we should give, he never instructs us to lay aside a tithe. He says things like, “Put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper” (1 Corinthians 16:2). And then he says in 2 Corinthians 8:3 that we should give according to our means “as I can testify, and they gave beyond their means, of their own accord.”
In fact, the 10% rule is probably robbing God and hurting others. Some just can’t give 10%, some give out of obligation instead of joyfully while others feel guilty and shameful if they don’t give the amount the church is expecting.
WHY Should We Give?
Why do we give anyway? Here are Four Biblical Principles
- As a response to God giving us Christ. “For God so loved the world that He gave…” John 3:16
- The command of scripture. “Honor the Lord from your wealth…” Proverbs 3:9
- God’s people support God’s work. “The Lord directed those who proclaim the Gospel to get their living from the Gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:11-14
- The benefits promised to those who give. “For whatever measure you deal out to others, it will be dealt to you in return.” Luke 6:38
WHERE Should You Give?
Now the BIG question, WHERE??? This stresses many people out. There are a lot of great ministries and non-profit organizations to help and every one of them need financial help.
Below are five areas where you could consider giving:
- To the significant sources of your spiritual development. “Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches….” Galatians 6:6
- To the church that you attend. “Whoever had, gave to the house of the LORD” 1 Chronicles 29:8-9
- To individuals with needs within God’s family. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” James 2:15-16
- To the poor. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” Proverbs 19:17
- To a vision or ministry that is on your heart. “For where you treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21
As you think about these five areas, consider your retirement portfolio strategy. How do you invest there? Do you invest in just one place or do you spread your dollars around to get a better return on your investment?
Why wouldn’t we apply that same strategy with our giving dollars? My suggestion is to create a Giving Portfolio.
HOW Should You Give?
- Regularly and Proportionately. “On the first day of the week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up.” 1 Corinthians 16:1-2
- Generously and Cheerfully. “As he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
- Sacrificially and Wholeheartedly. “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Below is an example of the Giving Portfolio. I encourage you to consider coming up with your own. Take the total number that you would like to give in 2019 and apply to the example below.
I hope you find this these questions and the portfolio helpful during this giving season. Remember the money is not yours but God’s to steward for His purposes. Feel free to pass the giving portfolio on to others to help them consider their giving habits as well.
If you sense God’s leading and you see God’s activity within this ministry, please consider a year-end gift. The great problem we see in the world is that men are not walking with God so we exist to reverse that and help men walk with God for a lifetime. We want to help a man know Christ deeply, reflect Christ authentically, and reproduce Christ intentionally.
If that is a mission your heart leaps towards, click here! We are grateful for an investment of any amount. Know that your financial gift goes towards reaching the men of Northwest Arkansas.